Isaiah 48

The themes swirl around again.

Judah and Israel are hard and deceitful, despite holy words.

The punishment, the exile, is God’s judgement

The return from exile will be God’s blessing. It’s a refining process.

He was before all the idols, and he is doing a new thing that will surpass them.

Again we get a hint, which will be fleshed out in further chapters, of the still mysterious third person of God “from the time it came to be I have been there. And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit…”

He calls Israel to listen. The chapter concludes with a reminder of the extravagant blessing in the wilderness, streams of water gushing from rock.

The last words are an encouragement or a warning “there is no peace for the wicked”.

Is it directed to the Israelites or the conquering armies?

Generally this section has made the case for God against the doubts and fears of the Israelites.

It is not a narrow question or a passive one. The case for God requires a response from us all.

Writing this on Christmas Day 2017, looking at the global phenomenon of Santa. Baby Jesus is still a more uncomfortable Christmas image, one that demands things of people that they aren’t sure they want to give.

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